What is science?

Science is a body of ideas characterized by rational, systematic, accurate, verifiable and fallible knowledge. 
What is science?
That is, the ideas generated by scientific research can be proven, they can fail in certain cases but they can also be improved.

Science is a discipline that uses the scientific method in order to find general structures (principles and laws) with predictive and testable capacity. The purpose of science is the enrichment of the objective knowledge of humanity.

Formal science and factual science

Science is classified according to the object of study in formal sciences , which are those that study ideas, such as logic and mathematics, and factual sciences , which are those that study facts, such as physics and biology.

Comparative chart between formal and factual science

Factual sciences in turn are classified into natural sciences and social sciences.

According to Mario Bunge, physicist and mathematician dedicated to the study of science, the essential features of the type of knowledge that reach the sciences of nature and society are rationality and objectivity.

By rationality it is understood that knowledge consists of concepts and ideas, not by feelings or emotions.

By objectivity it is understood that knowledge agrees with the truth of the facts through observation and experiment.

Characteristics of factual science

  1. Scientific knowledge is factual: science tries to describe the facts as they are, regardless of their emotional or commercial value. In all fields, science begins by establishing the facts: this requires impersonal curiosity, distrust of prevailing opinion and sensitivity to novelty.
  2. Scientific knowledge transcends facts: discards facts, produces new facts and explains them. Scientists squeeze reality in order to go beyond appearances.
  3. Science is analytical: scientific research addresses circumscribed problems, one by one, and tries to break everything down into elements in order to discover the internal "mechanism" responsible for the observed phenomena.
  4. Scientific research is specialized: the application of the scientific method depends largely on the matter; This explains the multiplicity of techniques and the relative independence of the various sectors of science.
  5. Scientific knowledge is clear and precise.
  6. Scientific knowledge is communicable: it can be expressed in an informative language in a public way.
  7. The scientific knowledge is verifiable: the verification techniques are reduced to show that there is or not some basis to believe that the assumptions correspond to the observed facts or to the measured values.
  8. Scientific research is methodical: it is not erratic but planned.
  9. Scientific knowledge is systematic: a science is not an aggregate of unconnected information, but a system of ideas logically connected to each other.
  10. Scientific knowledge is general and open: it goes from the singular to the universal and does not recognize a priori barriers that limit knowledge.
  11. Scientific knowledge is legal: it inserts singular facts into general guidelines called "natural laws" or "social laws."
  12. Science is explanatory: scientists don't settle for detailed descriptions; In addition to asking how things are, they try to answer why: why events happen, how they happen and not otherwise.
  13. Scientific knowledge is predictive: prediction is, first of all, an effective way to test hypotheses; but it is also the key to controlling or even modifying the course of events.

Pure Science and Applied Science

Science is classified according to the objectives pursued in:

- Pure science, which is one that pursues a purely cognitive purpose and understand things better, such as biology and physics;

- Applied science, which uses the same general method of pure science but applies it to purposes that are practical and utilitarian, to improve our mastery of things, such as, for example, pathology.

Utility of science

Science is effective in providing tools for good and for evil. The usefulness of science is a consequence of its objectivity. Modern technology is largely a product of applied science. Thus, engineering is applied physics and chemistry, medicine is applied biology, psychiatry is applied psychology and neurology.

In addition, science is useful in:

- Understand the world according to the facts;

- Create a habit of adopting a free and courageous examining attitude, and accustom people to test their claims and argue correctly.

In summary, science is valuable as a tool to tame nature and reshape society and is effective in enriching, discipline and liberating our mind.

Technical knowledge, protociencia and pseudoscience

Ordinary knowledge can be developed in some of the following three directions:

- Technical knowledge: it is the specialized knowledge, but not scientific, that characterizes the arts and professional skills;

- Protociencia (embryonic science), which can be exemplified by careful work, but without theoretical, observation and experimentation objective;

- Pseudoscience: a body of beliefs and practices whose cultivators want, naively or maliciously, to give as science, although they do not share with it neither the approach, nor the techniques, nor the body of knowledge. Examples: drug addiction, parapsychology, psychoanalysis, homeopathy.


According to Mario Bunge, the internal study of science is known as meta-science. Meta-science can be divided into three parts:

The logic (syntax and semantics) of science , occupied by problems such as the structure of factual theories and the empirical relevance, if any, of empirical concepts;

The methodology of science, which deals with the general method of science and the techniques that complement it, such as, for example, obtaining random samples;

The philosophy of science that studies the assumptions and logical, epistemological, ontological and ethical results of scientific research.

Meta-science is limited to the description and analysis of science, so it remains proto-science.

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